The indications were there all of my early life. I was introduced to this way of life as a child when both my parents took me to auctions, rummage sales, estate sales, and garage sales. I became quickly corrupted as I saw that we could not only but things much less expensively from these sources, but also afford items and brands of things that would not have been possible for us otherwise. My corruption was completed as my mother took me to high end consignment shops, sometimes in New York City, and a few times, during trips to England we bought things at consignment shops to send home. I became a master at instantly calculating 20%, 30% and 70% off, and in seeking the items with the most deeply discounted colored tag first.
After college, I married and had children and corrupted them in the same ways that I had been. All my kids know sterling silver from rhodium, diamonds from cubic zirconia, and sterling silver from silver plate. They can identify Russian silver and Wedgewood from the car as we drive up. Strangely, we adopted a son in his teens who spent his allowances at garage sales, and consequently came with more stuff than any foster kid has ever had ! He fits in here pretty well. From our consignment forays, my daughter owns a Bob Mackie beaded dress for art openings, and she has a couple of pairs of Jimmie Choo shoes and handbags.
My home has all the things I actually need and so I have been contented to switch gears and focus on writing, on animals, and on gardening now, until recently. About a year ago my daughter bought a home and needed appliances and furnishings. She was quite busy with a couple of different jobs and so I offered to pinch hit in looking for appliances and specific furniture pieces she needed. She bought the bed and the mattress at Richmond's famous "The Dump", a deeply discounted new furniture and rug store. Almost everything else I helped to locate through Craigslist. The result was that my daughter now has a nearly new refrigerator, washer dryer, and stove. She has newer models than I do, and I built a new house just a few years ago. We paid a couple of hundred dollars for each item and moved them ourselves. People simply were moving or redecorating their kitchens and didn't want white. She got some exquisite furniture too, including some bonafide antiques very cheaply. I located some oriental rugs someone was selling because they were moving across country. Last week I bought two Tiffany lamps. I have no idea where they are going yet, but we enjoy furnishing our home and the homes of our adult kids when they want something, on a shoestring, and we have three more sons here who will need to set up households themselves.
|Many consignment shops now look like lovely boutiques, and there are some incredible buys in some of them.|
You would think that I would not be settled into contented life now, but this is not true. Each morning when the rest of you run for coffee, I run for Craigslist. I look up items in the three closest cities to us, none of which are very close. I check out the free items, and then the garage sales. Then I look at the farm and garden section. There you will find everything from antique iron lawn furniture which looks fantastic around my big old oaks, to quail. I have found corral panels for horses, livestock, new stall mats which no one had used, a broad landscaper's rake, and a chainsaw.
If my internet is down, I could possibly begin to perspire or my heart to race...... I don't know what could become available in my "territory" while I am not aware. Why it could be a zebra or miniature donkeys. This week there are miniature Juliana pigs. Last week Bengal cats, and the week before two monkeys who ate meals at the table with an almost normal American family. It's not just the opportunity to acquire stuff cheaply which fascinates me. It's the stories of the lives of the people who find themselves choosing to part with some of the more unusual items. This week there is a man selling hardy banana trees. Its leaves can be used to wrap and serve food for unusual dishes. (Who knew ?) There is also someone selling full sized palm trees which can survive this region. They will come and plant them for you. There is no end to the unusual plants, bulbs and trees available.
Yes, I think Craigslist could be dangerous, and this is why we never travel to any of these things alone. However, I have met some really interesting and great people on my Craigslist journeys.
Now it's time to shift gears again. I need to start to go through some of the things I salvaged from my parent's things, my aunts things, when each of them passed. I also need to take a long hard look at all the things acquired since. I need to place some things on Craigslist. Then I need to take some upscale stuff to a pricey consignment shop. Then, I need to borrow my son's truck for a serious trip to donate some things to Goodwill. Then, I need to list some things on Ebay, which I haven't done in quite some time, since the listing costs went up. I really should put some homeschooling books up on half.com. Finding good homes for the things I don't use much could take a long time.
|Yes folks, that's a horse, with some special care needs and specialized care as his metabolism differs from a conventional horse. He may however, outlive us !|
You know, I saw a restored Farmall A tractor on there this morning. That would look great here, despite the fact that my husband is busy in his garage already restoring two of them. A woman is selling a drinking fountain for dogs fashioned as a miniature ceramic toilet........that's almost art ! It would look great in our kennels as a supplemental water dish ! I couldn't help but notice that quite near here a woman is selling a miniature pony much smaller than my own. She is moving and it needs to be gone very quickly. Oh no, I'm starting to perspire again !